Prop R: Everything you need to know and more

Proposition+R+passed+on+April+6%2C+2021%2C+with+a+68%25+of+the+vote.

Josie Baker

Proposition R passed on April 6, 2021, with a 68% of the vote.

KSD is facing its own pandemic when it comes to its buildings. With seven out of the eight (K-12) schools over capacity, Prop R is intended to combat this problem. 

After Prop S, a past proposition that included renovations to Kirkwood schools was unsuccessful, KSD worked with the community, principals, parents and students to create a new plan. Prop R was with hopes of fixing the overcapacity issue, adding more security to schools and adjusting school boundaries. Over the past couple months, Samantha Codd, a member of the Prop R leadership team and major advocate for the proposition, has dedicated most of her time to the cause. 

“[Prop R is] the only way we could improve our Kirkwood schools.” Codd said. “Bonds were set to go away in December of this year, and if that were to happen, all the improvements we needed across the entire district would not be able to happen.” 

Unlike previous propositions, Prop R directly improves each Kirkwood school. Additional classrooms and security cameras will be the most common upgrade amongst KSD buildings. KHS can expect to see 15 added classrooms, a relocated secure main office, extra security to the Essex side of the building and additional lighting around the perimeter. Other improvements to middle and grade schools include upgraded bathrooms, new media/library centers, additional art and music classrooms and secure entryways. 

[Prop R is] the only way we could improve our Kirkwood schools.”

— Samantha Codd

“The next step [to architectural changes and improvements] is to get bids for the different projects,” Codd said. “And hopefully break ground for some of those as soon as August.” 

At the start of her role on the leadership committee, Codd said she didn’t realize all that went into the position. She had volunteered on past propositions, but never at the larger role she took on through Prop R. When running a proposition, Codd explains that there is so much that needs to be organized and set in stone. 

“Having a legal entity name, a bank account and a treasurer [must be in order],” Codd said. “You have to know how to find Google ads, have a social media crew, find a marketing crew and find a yard sign crew.” 

Codd’s previous role was at the school level, where she was in charge of finding parents to be school captains at each Kirkwood school. Codd also helped with the social media account, called “The Right Reasons.” 

“I toured KHS and got to meet the home economics teacher and the technology department to see the needs at the high school,” Codd said. “[The leadership team] made sure everybody was doing what they were supposed to be doing to be successful.” 

When working with any political campaign, you have strong opinions on both sides and strong feelings. I was not used to that aspect of it.”

— Samantha Codd

Codd said working close with Prop R was a positive experience. Having two children in KSD, as well as many years of dedication to the PTO, improving education is important to Codd. At times, the role has even led her into awkward positions.

“When working with any political campaign, you have strong opinions on both sides and strong feelings,” Codd said. “I was not used to that aspect of it.” 

People who were strongly against Prop R made Codd’s job more challenging. To this day, she still questions why people voted no. Any time taxpayers are asked to approve a proposition, they tend to feel that there will be a tax height increase behind the scenes. 

“We asked taxpayers to pay the same amount they were paying and we were getting 41 new classrooms across the district,” Codd said. “Every school was getting improvements, [which] made a clear case as to why Prop R needed to pass.” 

Joy Sears, a parent with students at both North Glendale Elementary and Nipher Middle School, voted yes on Prop R, but said that she questioned the proposition at first. Sears thought that Prop R would end up the same way as Prop S and would not be beneficial.

After Prop S [was defeated], they raised our tax debt. The reason that I ultimately decided to vote yes is because of the safety reasons.

— Joy Sears

“It took me a while to come to the conclusion,” Sears said. “After Prop S [was defeated], they raised our tax debt. The reason that I ultimately decided to vote yes is because of the safety reasons.” 

Allison Schmidt, freshman, was also concerned about the safety and security in the KSD. Schmidt has attended Kirkwood schools since second grade, and has attended three out of eight (K-12) different schools in the district. 

“I feel safe [at school], but I do think that there could be more things done [to improve security],” Schmidt said. “I feel like at any moment anyone can walk into the school.”  

According to Prop R plans, the security of Kirkwood students will be increased. This allows for students and parents across the district to feel more secure while in school.

 I’m feeling relieved and very grateful that we got this over the hump,” KSD Board of Education President Chad Kavanaugh said. “Now we can move forward and get back to the business of educating kids.” [via the Webster-Kirkwood Times.]